According to a market study, the implementation of 5G technology will generate $13.2 trillion in economic impact and 22.3 trillion new job opportunities in the global value chain by 2035. Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, revealed this at The Talk to the Regulator Forum in Yenegoa, Bayelsa, stating that the commission has effectively positioned the country to reap these benefits. He said the Federal Government’s policies, laws, and regulations enforced by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) were responsible for the industry’s rapid rise.
He explained that the Talk to the Regulator Forum is a platform for Important Stakeholders to share their individual experiences and challenges with the regulator, as well as provide potential solutions to those problems. Moreso, he stated that the most effective way to achieve regulatory efficiency is to maintain constant interaction with the regulatory body. This helps to protect the integrity of the regulatory instruments that are issued by the regulatory body and ensures the buy-in of all relevant stakeholders.
Network coverage and penetration be boosted through the 5G service rollout.
Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, noted in his opening remarks that the TTTR Forum in Yenagoa was set for 2022 but had to be postponed because of the devastating floods that struck Bayelsa and other states that year. He expressed his sympathies to the people of Bayelsa State and the rest of the country and hoped that this sort of thing would never happen again, certain that the state had taken all necessary precautions. According to him, the commission is doing its part to keep up with the industry’s rapid and ongoing evolution by improving legislation to reflect these developments.
To close the coverage gap between served and unserved areas, the commission has taken a number of measures, including facilitating the rollout of 5G service and introducing the MVNO licence. Prof. Danbatta has stated that the commission is now examining the scope and structure of its existing licences to make them more reliable and to meet some of the recognized new industry trends. According to him, the NCC is leading the industry to help Nigeria reach its goal of 90% broadband penetration by 2025, with over 50% by the end of 2023, as outlined in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020 – 2025). He reported that the number of Nigerians who use the internet has risen to almost 150 million, and of those, 80 million have access to internet speeds.
Telecommunication output will be enhanced in the country.
In his opening remarks, the Director of Licensing and Authorization, Mr. Mohammed Babajika, said that the commission knows that technological advances in the industry, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Network as a Service (NaaS), and the Internet of Things (IoT), are changing how services are delivered. In line with global trends, the commission is currently reviewing its licence categories. He added that the commission had finalized the framework for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) and is licensing them. Licensing MVNOs will increase the country’s telecommunication output, expand quality mobile reach, and close the disparity to Nigeria’s unserved and marginalized population. He said that the commission is dedicated to doing its job but needs licensees’ help to do it effectively.
On his path, Venny Eze, Zonal Controller, NCC, Port Harcourt, stated that the licensing of the 5G network and the endeavour by stakeholders to make telecoms services available, accessible, and affordable for all Nigerians prompted the creation of The Talk to the Regulator Forum. After holding similar forums in Port Harcourt in 2021 for the licensees in the South-East and the South-South geopolitical zones, he said this one was the second in a series of engagements with licenses in the South-South on behalf of the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Challenges facing the industry will be identified and tackled.
Lastly, the event serves as an outstanding platform for interaction between the regulator and the licensees, and other industry players. According to him, this is an opportunity that will allow the commission to identify the difficulties that are now being faced by the industry from the realistic standpoint of all those involved in the industry. He added that this would give Licensees a chance to learn about relevant problems of concern and, in turn, better understand and follow the terms and conditions of their various license categories.
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